Monday, May 19, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 4 (1)

Bright light woke Hans from his sleep. Blindly, he reached for button to shut the blinds thinking he had left them up. He jabbed at the button and heard the light whirr of the blinds moving, but the light stayed the same. With a groan Hans opened his eyes to see the last bit of the blinds recede into the wall slot. It was dark outside, he could see the lights of the city, but that was not where the bright light that had awoken him had come from.

Hans looked down towards the floor to see the light spilling out from under his bed. Hans stabbed blindly at the button to bring the blinds back down and hoped no one would notice the light coming from his window before they could close fully. Taking a deep breath, he leaned down to peek under his bed at the artefact. Tears came to his eyes as he attempted to look directly at the light that was streaming out from under his bed.
Hans sat there for a moment and tried to wrap his head around what was happening. He needed to douse the light, but there was no way that he could get close enough to it with how bright it was right now. Grabbing a blanket, he threw it under the bed, hoping to get it on top of the artefact. He knew he was successful when the light dimmed slightly. It was just enough that so that he could look under his bed without any pain. He dragged it out and wrapped the blanket tighter around it to douse the light a bit more.

Hans sat on the edge of the bed, holding the bundled artefact, entirely unsure what do with it. A glance at the time told him that he had two hours before he needed to get up for work. There was only one thing he could think to try at this point. Squeezing his eyes shut as tightly as he could, he unwrapped the artefact and threw it as hard as could at the wall.
Almost at the moment he heard the second thump of the artefact hitting the floor the light stopped. Hans opened his eyes, blinking at the afterimages that the light had left behind and stumbled his way towards where it had fallen, split into two again. He hit the button, hoping that this would stop whatever he had started and stood back as the artefact put itself back together again. There was no beep this time and he hoped that was a good thing.

Hans looked down at the artefact and back at his bed and sighed. It was too much excitement for him to get back to bed now and far too many worries that he was left with. He bundled up the artefact in the blanket again and shoved it as far under his bed as he could. There was only one thing he could think to do now and that was to go to work.
Even though his morning had gotten off to such a rough start, Hans was enjoying the silence of an early morning in the office. He was able to get all his daily admin duties done before the first person walked in for the day. It was a nice change for him to have all his work done before he had to do any lessons or charters. He even managed to get a few extras done as well as looking into a way to be able to get back into the cavern and still be able to see.

So far there was nothing that he could find that would do the trick and not cost him an arm and a leg. There were a few things he had thought about that would work, but it was all military technology and he knew no one that owed him that big of a favour and could keep their mouth shut. It was really starting to seem hopeless. What he really needed was help.
“In early today.” Duke managed to sneak up on him once again and Hans jumped at the sound of his voice.

“Yeah, couldn’t sleep.”  Hans pushed aside the display and rested his head in his hand. “What can I do for you Duke?”
“Just wishing you a good morn is all and I wanted to touch base about that long haul charter to five-C-four with those miners.”  Duke walked in uninvited and sat in the chair across from Hans. “Seems Nav has come down with a bit of the flu and won’t be in for a few days. Everyone else is booked right up.”

“I can fly it by myself then I guess.” Hans closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “We need to get someone hired pretty quick, maybe two someones.”
“I’m on it, but you can’t fly that charter yourself. It’s too long of a haul, not to mention that ship requires two pilots on it. And company policy is clear on that one too.”  

Hans looked up at Duke and bit back the anger in his voice. “Well what else can we do? We can’t cancel that charter. It’s too large of an account.”
“I’m not just a pretty around here Hans. I may be the head mechanic and your right hand man, but I am certified to fly – I just usually don’t.” Duke scratched at the stubble on his chin and frowned. “I don’t like flying, but I can do it and you need a co-pilot. End of story. Marietta can handle ground operations while we’re both gone.”

“Yeah, okay.” Hans glanced at the time. “Guess we’ll start the pre-flight check in about an hour or so?”
“Sounds good.” Duke stood to leave and then squinted at display. “Thinking of going for a star walk or something?”
Hans glanced at the display, he still had his last search up on it. “Just planning a vacation to a sunny destination. I’m light sensitive.”

“Really? Have anything to do with your last vacation?” Duke reached out and pulled the display over so that he could see it better. “Hmmmm…”
Hans stood up and yanked the screen away from Duke and turned the display off. “What do you think you’re doing? Seriously, Duke, what is it?”

Duke planted his hands on the desk and leaned forward. “We may have come to a bit of a truce, but I know something fishy when I see it. Ever since that incident over the Mantou Islands you’ve been acting strange and slightly distracted.”
“What I do in my free time is none of your business.” Hans kept his voice low and mirrored Duke’s stance, leaving less than a foot between them. “And frankly, I could officially reprimand you for your behavior right now, but I’m not going to…this time.”

“This time? Oh, really?” Duke glared at Hans. “And what about you using work time for your personal little secret? Maybe I should report that?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” Hans gritted his teeth. It was getting to be a challenge to keep his voice low.

“I’m not the one being ridiculous here. You are up to something, I know it, and I am going to find out what it is.”
“It’ll tell you what it is. It’s none of your business. Now get out of my office and I’ll see you for the pre-flight check at 0900h.”

Duke stormed out of Hans’ office, slamming the door behind him. Hans slumped back in his chair and closed his eyes. He hadn‘t intended to make an enemy out Duke again. It was the last thing he wanted right now with having to already hide his tracks from the Armed Forces. He turned the display back on and stared at blankly at the screen.
“Dammit!” Hans slammed the screen aside and kicked at his desk. He really didn’t need this sort of headache right now at all. Duke was going to be a problem and like or not he was going to have to deal with it right now instead of later. There was only one solution he could think of to make it all work out in his favour and that was to tell the truth.

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